Can you help us with our adolescent daughter who is having doubts about God? She has been raised in a solid Christian home, and her faith has always been very important to her. But recently she seems to be struggling with doubt. Last week she asked me how Christians can be sure they're right when there are so many other religions in the world. I answered by quoting Hebrews 11:6 – "Without faith it is impossible to please God" – and Proverbs 3:5 – "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." This didn't seem to satisfy her. Can you help?
We want to begin by saying that our hearts go out to you and your daughter as you walk together through this challenging phase in her emotional, intellectual, and spiritual development. We'd also like to commend you on the thoughtfulness and care with which you've responded to the questions she's raised regarding the validity of her Christian faith. You've given her some solid Scripture references to ponder and some excellent food for thought to counter her doubts and misgivings. We'd suggest that there are two things you need to do as you move forward: 1) pray for her every day; and 2) keep the lines of communication open. She needs to know that you're available to continue this dialogue whenever she feels the need to pick it up.
Meanwhile, we want to encourage you with the thought that there's nothing "bad" or unusual about the struggles your daughter is experiencing. Every Christian needs to wrestle with doubt and disbelief. A faith unquestioned and untested is no faith at all. Even the disciples of Jesus had to find their way through this dark, discouraging tunnel. At the very moment when belief should have come easiest to them – when the Risen Christ Himself stood before them on a mountaintop in Galilee – Matthew records that "some doubted" (Matthew 28:17). This can be particularly important for young people who have been raised in strong Christian homes. For some, it's the only way they can take what they've inherited from their parents and make it their very own – a matter of deep personal conviction and passion rather than passive acceptance.
If you'd like to discuss your concerns at greater length with a member of our team, call us. We have a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.
Christian Growth for Children & Teens (resource list)
Spiritual Growth for Kids